Moderna Inc. said Monday that it will supply 34 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to an international program that distributes free shots to poorer countries.
The doses will be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2021 to the World Health Organization-backed Covax initiative, a program financed mostly by Western governments that offers free coronavirus vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries across the world.
Covax will retain an option to purchase another 466 million doses in 2022, according to Moderna and Gavi, one of the organizations behind the vaccine aid program.
The announcement comes as the pandemic accelerates in developing countries such as India and Brazil, which have been reporting record numbers of deaths amid a surge of coronavirus infections that has overwhelmed their healthcare systems.
While countries such as the U.S., Britain and Israel are coming closer to vaccinating large majorities of their populations, developing nations are struggling to get their rollouts off the ground, with vaccine manufacturers focused on richer markets that have preordered the bulk of their supply.